From KCRW DJ Eric J Lawrence:
Guest DJ Project, my personal batch of long-shot possibilities included folks like beloved public TV host Huell Howser, legendary Dodgers announcer Vin Scully, ghost hunters Jason Hawes and Grant Wilson, indie-“It Girl” Zooey Deschanel, and absurdist comedians Tim Heidecker and Eric Wareheim.
Over three years later I’ve managed to score only one of my dream guests (Huell!), but this week another domino falls, as Tim Heidecker graciously stopped by to share some of his musical favorites.
Tim, along with partner Eric (no relation), have made some of my favorite comedic TV shows over the past several years, including Tom Goes to the Mayor, Tim and Eric Awesome Show, Great Job and Check It Out! with Dr. Steve Brule (starring a hilariously bumbling John C. Reilly).
Their brand of humor is smart, gross, intensely satirical, random, and complicated, as many recurring characters and jokes are stretched out over not merely a single episode or even a whole season, but throughout their entire body of work. Heck, there’ll probably be some crazy inside-jokes in their forthcoming film, Tim and Eric’s Billion Dollar Movie, that hardcore fans can get extra spooked about.
One aspect that particularly drew me to them is their clever use of music. I realized they must have a pretty profound understanding of how music works, because they regularly manage to include numerous musical parodies in their shows, successfully covering any number of genres (not unlike fellow musical jokers Ween).
Digging a little deeper, Tim & Eric’s musical connection makes perfect sense, as Eric Wareheim has directed several music videos for the likes of The Bird and The Bee, MGMT and Depeche Mode, while Tim Heidecker, along with longtime musical collaborator Davin Wood, released an album called Starting from Nowhere earlier this year. It is subtly ridiculous, but it is also equally faithful to the classic “smooth rock” sounds of the 1970s, which has undergone a bit of a serious revival within the indie rock world.
Tim’s Guest DJ session clearly offers insight into his musical sensibilities. His selection of songs by both Pavement and Guided By Voices demonstrates a solid affection for the Golden Age of guitar-based Indie Rock, while tracks from The Dillards and Harry Nilsson (covering Randy Newman) show his appreciation for classic songwriting of the past.
And a selection from the notorious rock opera Jesus Christ Superstar might help explain the fine line between “good” bad and “bad” bad that comedians (and often musicians) must walk, as well as how something can be both ridiculous and meaningful at the same time.
It was a pleasure to hang with Tim and to hear his picks. Wareheim, you’re on the clock!
ERIC J. LAWRENCE
p.s. A collection of MP3s of some of the music & songs from their show is available at Amazon & iTunes.
p.p.s.: Recent Guest DJ Zach Galifianakis is a frequent collaborator